- The Washington Times - Monday, July 13, 2020

The federal government spent $1.1 trillion last month, shattering the record for the highest monthly spending ever, and sending the deficit soaring to $2.7 trillion so far this fiscal year, the Treasury Department reported Monday,

Before this year, the highest monthly total was $439.8 billion, spent last May.

But the last three months have easily topped that, totaling nearly $2.7 trillion in spending over just those three months along. As recently as 2006, the government spent less than that in the entire year.

The spending spree is due chiefly to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced policymakers to tap the Treasury, borrowing deeply to pump cash into the economy. At the same time, the economic slump has dampened revenue, and the government has delayed some tax collections, further deepening the fiscal hole.

The Trump administration began the year predicting a deficit of about $1 trillion. It’s now nearly thrice that level, with three months still to go in the fiscal year.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a budget watchdog, says Congress has approved about $3.6 trillion in total coronavirus aid, though the budget price tag is about $2.4 trillion.

About 75% of the aid has been disbursed, with the Paycheck Protection Program the largest chunk at $521 billion out the door. Next are the stimulus checks, with $267 billion spent.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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